Arts Leaders of Metro Atlanta (ALMA)

In 2021, ALMA is … ALMA Workshop!

The 2021 Arts Leaders of Metro Atlanta program is seeking experienced artists, arts administrators, designers, urban planners, and local government officials to participate in a unique edition of ALMA aimed at developing creative, cross-sector proposals to community planning challenges. We’re calling it ALMA Workshop.

This special cohort of leaders will come together to learn about the arts in planning and then collaborate as creative project teams to address community needs with an arts and culture focus. Sessions will help participants understand why and how artists and arts organizations can be an essential part of civic, planning, and development processes. We will also discuss best practices for arts and culture and creative placemaking for the Atlanta region.

The 2021 program will include four virtual class sessions capped by group presentations and a distinguished panel review. Read more about it on What’s Next ATL.

The application period has closed. See the 2021 ALMA Workshop class list.

Who should apply to ALMA Workshop?

  • ALMA Alumni from previous years — if you went through ALMA before, you are encouraged to apply — this will be a different experience!
  • Artists, arts administrators, and arts and culture professionals interested in advocacy, community engagement, and civic participation
  • Urban planners, urban designers, architects, developers, and landscape architects
  • Public officials with a desire to incorporate the arts into policy and programming
  • Philanthropic professionals responsible for funding in arts and culture, urban planning, place-based community development, and civic engagement

Application Timeline

The application period has closed.

  • Application period closes January 29, 2021
  • Class will be announced February 17, 2021

Orientation Sessions: January 14th and 20th

  • Join us on January 14th or 20th for an orientation session to learn more about what the ALMA 2021 Workshop will cover!
    • Register: January 14, 10-11AM
    • Register: January 20, 1-2PM
  • Download the orientation slides.

2021 Class Schedule

  • Classes will take place online between March and May, 2021 (March 17, March 31, April 14, and May 12)
  • Days will be scheduled 9AM to 3PM (with breaks)
  • We will schedule a final presentation for the week of June 7


  • The cost of the program is $350 for employees of local government, businesses, and foundations. Working, self-employed artists and employees of arts and culture-based nonprofits, if selected for the program, are eligible to participate in the program at no cost. Stipends of $250 will be awarded to 10 participants with preference given to working artists and culture bearers.
  • Due to the fact that we are unable to meet in person, this cost above is lower than a typical year.

What about the typical ALMA program?

  • We plan and hope to bring back the style of ALMA that has been running since 2004 in 2022. And we’d like to have it person — keep wearing those masks!

Recent ALMA alumni include:

  • Waverly Lucas, Co-Founder/Director, Ballethnic Dance Company
  • Susan Mitchell, Executive Director, Dunwoody Nature Center
  • Karim Shariff, Board Chair, Dad’s Garage Theater Company
  • Doreen Williams, Commissioner, Rockdale County
  • Margarita Moldovan, Director of Education and Programs, Cubamerica Foundation
  • Vikki Morrow, Executive Director, National Black Arts Festival
  • Malika Whitley, CEO & Founder, ChopArt
  • Dominique Holloman, Chief of Staff, Office of State Representative William Boddie
  • Ivan Pulinkala, Dean of the College of Arts, Kennesaw State University
  • Marion Phillips, Economic Development Research Analyst, Georgia Power
  • Donna Jackson, Principal, Clayton County Public Schools
  • Sarah LaDart, Economic Development Manager, City of Milton
  • Emily Lightner, Executive Director, Cultural Arts Council of Douglasville

ALMA participants are selected by the ALMA steering committee, a group of Atlanta Regional Council (ARC) staff and selected ALMA alumni. The committee seeks to select a diverse group of individuals with respect to ethnicity, gender, age, geography, profession, community service, and demonstrated leadership.

ALMA Speakers

Past speakers include:

  • Joe Bankoff (Georgia Tech and Chair of the Fulton County Arts Council)
  • Shanequa Gay (artist)
  • Bem Joiner (President and CEO, Atlanta Influences Everything)
  • Amir Farokhi (City Council, City of Atlanta)
  • Doug Shipman (President and CEO, Woodruff Arts Center)
  • Carlton Mackey (Director, Ethics & the Arts, Emory University)
  • Josh Jackson (Editor-in-Chief, Paste Magazine)
  • Lain Shakespeare (Corporate Citizenship Director, MailChimp)
  • Anthony Rodriguez (Producing Artistic Director, Aurora Theatre)
  • Senator PK Martin (Georgia Senate)
  • Doug Hooker (Executive Director, Atlanta Regional Commission)
  • Julie Rhoad (President, The AIDS Quilt)


“I went to [an ARC workshop session on economic competitiveness] today and WOW.  It was great!  ALMA really helped me feel comfortable doing something like that and joining in the conversation.  I feel like what we learned and discussed in ALMA gave me the tools and ignited my passion to participate more in shaping our region.”

Gretchen E. Butler, Theatrical Outfit; 2017 ALMA graduate


Contact Josh Phillipson

Arts Leaders of Metro Atlanta (ALMA) is a program of the Atlanta Regional Commission. ARC is the regional planning agency for the Atlanta region, including Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry and Rockdale counties, as well as the City of Atlanta.

NOTICE: Gov. Brian Kemp has extended a public health emergency declaration and a statewide shelter-in-place order for older adults and medically fragile residents through June 12.

The Atlanta Regional Commission office at 229 Peachtree Street, NE Atlanta, is closed to the public until further notice. All employees are working remotely and conducting business operations. ARC employees can be contacted directly during normal business hours. However, if you need immediate assistance call 404-463-3100.

If you are seeking resources for older persons and individuals with disabilities, contact us at404-463-3333 or visit

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